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NBooth

The X-Files

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I Want to Believe thread one. Thread two.

X-Files 3

 

Has it really been seven years since the 2008 movie? And before that--ten years between movie 1 and movie 2 and six years between the end of the series and the second movie (with the first one coming in the middle of the series run). And it's twenty-two years since the show debuted in 1993.

 

It was also very much of-its-time, with the paranoia etc etc etc closely echoing some of the popular sentiment of the 1990s; it could be that the reason the 2008 film wasn't quite as momentous--in spite of the gap between series and movie--was because the zeitgeist had changed in the meantime. And now, thirteen years after the series closed, I can only imagine that the zeitgeist has changed even more. Certainly television drama has--in a move that was partly the result of the original show--so I'm wondering how this one will work (already we see it's taking the form of a mini-season, instead of a full run--much as Twin Peaks is doing).

 

We don't have a thread on the original, from what I can see, but we should have something for the new series that was just announced.

 

Thirteen years after the original series run, FOX has ordered the next mind-bending chapter of “The X-Files,” a thrilling, six-episode event series which will be helmed by creator/executive producer Chris Carter with stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson re-inhabiting their roles as iconic FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. This marks the momentous return of the Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-winning pop culture phenomenon, which remains one of the longest-running sci-fi series in network television history.
Edited by NBooth

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Cracked.com gives its run-down of why we shouldn't be excited about the return of The X-Files. Honestly, I thought of most of these within minutes of seeing the news. And Ryan pointed out something like this last bit on Twitter:

 

This is why our nostalgia-lust for The X-Files is so misguided: With the exception of the two stars, pretty much everyone who made the show special isn't working on it anymore, at least not in the same capacity.

 

The article also suggests that the return of Twin Peaks is the real reason this revival got the go-ahead, which strikes me as an entirely fair assertion.

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I've been revisiting the series (I just started season five) via Netflix, which sponsored the gorgeous HD restoration of the show. It has been a great experience so far. 

I've no idea whether or not the revival will be any good, but I can't wait for it. (They got Morgan to write an episode, so it can't be all bad.)

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Ryan H. wrote:
: . . . the gorgeous HD restoration of the show.

What does "restoration" mean here? Did they keep the original aspect ratio? Have they redone the visual effects?

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Ryan H. wrote:
: . . . the gorgeous HD restoration of the show.

What does "restoration" mean here? Did they keep the original aspect ratio? Have they redone the visual effects?

No, it's now in full 16:9. When filming the show, the creators kept widescreen format in mind and framed for widescreen. So they've gone back to the original negatives and have restored the full image.

Effects were redone, but I don't think they're outright new (they look like the same effects to me). Maybe just recomposited from the original elements.

Overall, it's a big improvement.

Edited by Ryan H.

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Ryan H. wrote:
: No, it's now in full 16:9. When filming the show, the creators kept widescreen format in mind and framed for widescreen. So they've gone back to the original negatives and have restored the full image.

Hmmm, that's what Babylon 5 did for DVD -- but in that case, they simply cropped all the effects shots at the (top and?) bottom. Which means the effects shots are noticeably lower-resolution than the rest of the series.


I *think* Star Trek: The Next Generation kept the original aspect ratio when it went to Blu-Ray, but I do know that they had to completely re-edit the entire series and re-do all of the visual effects, because the series was originally edited on '80s-quality video and all the effects were done on '80s-quality video. (So they had to track down all the original film elements, re-scan them at Blu-Ray quality (or better), and then edit all the elements together again, following the exact same cuts and dissolves etc. that were used on the original series.)

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One thing I have been wondering about is the Christian response to this show and how different it could be than it was with the original series.  We've come a long way with our engagement with Film and Television since then and are much more likely to see this as having a "Mars Hill potential" (if you will) rather than having a great number people within the Christian subculture reject it because of it's "problematic" spiritual aspects.  

It could be a way to gauge how much the Christian subculture's views have changed over the last several years.

But I guess it could be a way to gauge how the general culture's views have changed, through what ideas it tackles.  

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I have high hopes for the Darin Morgan stuff, which reviewers have liked a lot. The rest of it, I'm not so sure about. Keith Uhlich has been saying he thinks the premiere is better than the consensus indicates.

Having rewatched nearly the entire series, there are seven good seasons and two very bad seasons. As long as this season rises above seasons 8 and 9 to deliver quality on the level of season 7, I'll be satisfied.

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Well.  They certainly seem to be tapping into the pulse of modern paranoia.

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It feels like the same show, so that's something. The premiere is wonky in the way that all the mytharc stuff after season 5 is wonky, and its retcon of the mythology isn't too much better than "The last four seasons of the show were  all a dream!" But, once accomplished, the cleanup does point things in a decent direction.

I'm glad the show is back. 

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I'm glad its back as well and I also think the new direction is decent.  So far as the old mythology goes, it looks like they could be continuing to interact with it in some ways in the new series (even if to continually show how the characters were tricked and to unravel things) that could prove to be interesting storytelling.  Time will tell.

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Tonight's episode was much better. It was a more self-contained story, which gave them time to develop things without explaining/glossing over entire seasons of backstory, but it also tied into one of the dangling threads--Mulder and Scully's son, William--in a satisfying way. Not sure if they meant it, but the climax of the episode is basically The X-Men Files

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This evenings episode was a hoot.  I never expected it to be so funny, and so much fun.  I laughed out loud in a few places.

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On 1/25/2016 at 8:43 AM, Ryan H. said:

It feels like the same show, so that's something. The premiere is wonky in the way that all the mytharc stuff after season 5 is wonky, and its retcon of the mythology isn't too much better than "The last four seasons of the show were  all a dream!" But, once accomplished, the cleanup does point things in a decent direction.

I'm glad the show is back. 

I am rewatching all the myth episodes (and a few others I just want to see again), and I have this same nagging feeling I have always had with the X-Files, namely that it is a really big missed opportunity. So the hook for this new sequence of episodes made me laugh out loud - almost as a confirmation of my longstanding suspicion about the show, and the glaring flaws of its latter seasons.

Edited by M. Leary

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5 hours ago, M. Leary said:

I am rewatching all the myth episodes (and a few others I just want to see again), and I have this same nagging feeling I have always had with the X-Files, namely that it is a really big missed opportunity. So the hook for this new sequence of episodes made me laugh out loud - almost as a confirmation of my longstanding suspicion about the show, and the glaring flaws of its latter seasons.

Yes. I am not persuaded by Keith Uhlich's argument that the mytharc is a Borgesian mystery with endless corridors leading nowhere. That's an argument that can only be made in retrospect since the show's mytharc stuff never plays that way when you're actually watching it. The show certainly carries itself in a way that suggests that all this stuff matters and is going somewhere (and, to its credit, up until season five and the movie, it actually is mostly going somewhere, even if it's not to an altogether very exciting destination), but then it doesn't deliver.

Anchoring all these random side stories in a broader pursuit of the Biggest Conspiracy of All Time isn't a terrible notion. It could be great. But, even with years of development and consideration, Chris Carter still doesn't have a sense for how to make it all work. Thankfully, he still gets out of the way from time to time to let his collaborators take the reins.

Edited by Ryan H.

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I would like for Uhlich to be right, but I agree with you that he isn't. 

" Thankfully, he still gets out of the way from time to time to let his collaborators take the reins."

Yes!, Q.E.D.: Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose, Home, and Paper Hearts

 

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So, essentially, this show is at its best when it operates as a contemporary Twilight Zone with stable protagonists. The miniseries is doing an okay job of delivering that so far (one bad episode and two good-to-great episodes), but I'm really concerned about the Chris Carter episodes to come.

And since you mentioned it, I have to reiterate that "Clyde Bruckman" is a thing of beauty. I get misty-eyed just thinking about it.

Edited by Ryan H.

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